Compared to a lot of other campsites around the UK, Burnbake is pretty basic. But therein lies its charm; instead of attracting people who want to play on fruit machines in clubhouses and huddle in their caravans all weekend watching TVs powered by electrical hook ups, Burnbake attracts the more outdoorsy types.
Some friends and I opted for Burnbake after researching several options. Our main criteria were that we wanted to be relatively near to the coast, we wanted flushing toilets (our one luxury!) and we wanted somewhere that allowed BBQs (the site doesn't allow fires on the ground, but does allow fires that are raised and contained). Burnbake checks all these boxes and more.
One of the best aspects about the camp is that they don't have predefined pitches; you simply show up and pitch wherever you like provided you maintain a distance of at least six meters from other tents. This makes the entire campsite feel more natural and wild. The site is actually pretty big, and you have the choice of camping either in one of the more open field bits, or under the pine forest canopy. We chose the latter, and despite the camp actually filling on our second day (we returned from a hike to find the FULL sign hanging beneath the camp's entrance sign), our site was still actually relatively secluded. In fact, even though the campsite was technically full, it was far from crowded. I can only imagine the people complaining about overcrowding here have never been to a music festival, because by comparison, Burnbake is positively sparse.
The toilet and shower blocks were well maintained throughout the the weekend, never running out of toilet paper or soap, and cleanliness levels were remarkably good. A small shop onsite stocks pretty much absolutely everything you may need or have forgotten, from tents to fuel to canned foods to dog toys to basic medicines to vegetarian sausages. The only thing they don't sell is alcohol. In addition to selling stuff, they also rent large picnic tables, will charge your mobile phone for a small donation to charity, and will freeze your cooler box boards. The shop is open twice a day for about 90 minutes at a time. Another small hut nearby also opens twice a day and does hot drinks and food, although we didn't try it.
In front of the shower blocks is also a washing up area with hot water, a communal recycling and rubbish disposal area, as well as a children's playground, a laundry room, and a payphone. The site also has a number of fresh water points scattered throughout. So while Burnbake is far from a luxury campsite, it caters for all your basic needs more than adequately.
Being very family friendly, there were loads of kids running around so it's not really an ideal place for people who are likely to be bothered by commotion or a bit of noise. Having said that, we found that the campsite became totally silent around 11pm every evening. Whether this was because the staff were actually going around enforcing the curfew or whether people were simply being respectful is debatable, suffice to say that we all slept peacefully each night without any disturbances.
The only things to be aware of is that if you plan to camp in the forest bit, then bring mosquito repellent (although the shop onsite does sell this). Also be sure to totally seal your tent with all your food inside if you leave the site, as my one friend failed to do this and we discovered his tent had been raided by squirrels (one of which was still sitting outside eating his bread when we returned). We also saw numerous rabbits but I'm not sure whether they're likely to steal food.
The campsite is very easy to find, although our GPS units didn't take us directly to the campsite entrance; the site's postcode takes you to another campsite, but all you have to do is follow the road a little further until you see the Burnbake entrance on the right.
The staff we encountered throughout the weekend were all extremely friendly and helpful, which really put the cherry on top of a fantastic experience. We are already planning our next trip there.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Burnbake comprises of 22 luxury forest lodges with hot tubs and camping pitches. Camping: The campsite is a very traditional family orientated campsite, an ethos we have strived for since opening in 1975. We are a turn up and pitch site for tents and campervans. I am afraid we are NOT able to take caravans. We have a wide selection of flat level pitches ranging from heavily shaded areas that are perfect for those hot sunny days to more open areas for those looking to make the most of the British sunshine. Facilities wise we have toilets and showers, a shop, small laundrette, small play area and a café open for peak times. We can cater for larger family groups on our events fields by prior arrangement. For pricing, bank holiday booking, and more information please see the campsite website. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Burnbake Campsite Hotel Wareham
- Burnbake Campsite And Forest Lodges Wareham, Dorset